Divorce - Do You Need a Lawyer?
If you're considering divorce, you may be surprised at how much information is available to you online. In fact, there are thousands of blogs and self-help websites available to you. Some of these sites offer great tips and advice, but others are simply trying to sell you something.
You've probably seen ads like "Get Your Free Divorce Checklist," or "Learn How to Win Your Child Custody Case." These types of ads are designed to entice you into buying their products and services. Unfortunately, these ads often contain misinformation and half-truths.
Some people think that hiring a lawyer is unnecessary because they believe that the court system works perfectly well. This couldn't be further from the truth. Many people find themselves in situations where they need help navigating the court system, and unfortunately, they end up losing their rights to marital assets.
Although most states don't require that you hire a lawyer, sometimes having someone on your side is the best way to ensure that you retain control over your marital property.Negotiate Your Divorce, Without an Attorney
Divorce is often described as "the hardest thing you'll ever do." For many people, it feels like a necessary evil; however, there are ways to make the experience less stressful and easier for yourself and your kids.
If you and your spouse agree on how you want to handle finances, property division, and parenting issues, you may be able to reach a resolution without the help of an attorney. This doesn't mean you won't need an attorney later, but you could avoid paying thousands of dollars upfront.
When negotiating a divorce settlement, it's important to remember that the goal is to come up with a plan that works for everyone involved. You don't necessarily need to work out every detail in advance, but you should be open to discussing different scenarios and options.
Discussing financial matters early on helps prevent future disputes. A good place to start is talking about how you'd like to split assets such as homes, cars, retirement accounts, and bank accounts.
You may also want to discuss how you want to divide household goods, including furniture, appliances, electronics, and clothing.
Finally, think about how you'd like your children to spend time with each parent. Do you want to keep joint custody? What arrangements will you make for holidays and vacations? Will you pay child support or maintenance?
Remember, it's never too late to change your mind about something. If you find that you and your spouse aren't on the same page, it may be worth considering mediation or hiring a lawyer in in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC. Contact us today for a free consultation.An Attorney Can Explain Your Rights
If you're thinking about getting divorced, don't hesitate to talk to an attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you sort out what you need to do to make sure that you are legally entitled to file for divorce. This includes having enough grounds to support your case. In some states, there are specific circumstances where you must wait for a certain amount of time before filing for divorce. Some states require that you live apart for a specified period of time before you can file for divorce. Regardless of the specifics of your situation, an attorney can explain your rights and options.Consider Collaborative Practice for Your Divorce
Collaborative practice is a relatively new way of handling divorces. Instead of going to court, you and your spouse will meet with a mediator and negotiate a settlement together. If you and your spouse cannot come up with a mutually agreeable solution, one of you will hire a different attorney to represent him/her in court. This approach eliminates the possibility of having a judge decide what happens in your relationship.
While it might seem counterintuitive to give up the ability to go to court, there is evidence that collaborative practice works better than litigation. A study published in 2017 found that couples who used collaborative practice had a lower chance of getting divorced. Another study showed that people who used collaborative practice were less likely to file for bankruptcy.
The biggest advantage of collaborative practice is that it reduces costs. Lawyers' fees vary greatly depending on how contentious a case becomes, and even though the average cost of a divorce is about $15,000, the amount can easily rise to over $50,000. With collaborative practice, however, the initial consultation fee is usually around $1,500, plus another $2,000-$3,000 per month for ongoing meetings.When Should You Hire an Attorney?
There are certain situations where you shouldn’t ever try to handle legal matters on your own. These include:
- Child custody disputes
- Parenting plans
- Property division
- Criminal charges
If there's a history of physical or emotional abuse within your relationship, hiring an attorney is even more important. In some cases, there is no way to win against someone who has been trained to use force.
You don't want to lose out because you didn't know how to fight back. A skilled lawyer will take care of everything for you.What If I Can't Afford an Attorney?
Divorce isn't cheap. Even if you're fortunate enough to have money in savings, paying someone else to do it for you can still run up a hefty bill. However, there are ways to cut costs while keeping your sanity intact. Here are five tips to help you navigate the process without breaking the bank.
1. Hire an attorney who specializes in family law. While most lawyers focus on one area of practice, family law attorneys often specialize in divorce. This allows them to know what questions to ask during your initial consultation and how to best represent your interests throughout the entire process.
2. Check out online reviews. You can read about people's experiences with different lawyers in your area by searching online review sites. Look for information such as whether the lawyer returned calls promptly, took the time to explain things thoroughly, and handled everything efficiently.
3. Ask friends and colleagues for referrals. They'll likely know of good lawyers in your area, and many times they won't even charge you for the referral.
4. Consider hiring a paralegal. Paralegals are trained professionals who assist attorneys with tasks like filing paperwork, drafting court documents, and researching issues related to your case. Many paralegals are also familiar with the ins and outs of the legal system, providing additional support in areas beyond just research.
5. Don't forget to factor in travel expenses. If you must fly across state lines, make sure to include airfare into your budget.